Children’s Book of the Week: Gnomes

Gnomes by Wil Huygen, illustrated by Rien Poortvliet

When I was 7 years old or so, family friends of ours somehow acquired a copy of Gnomes. I honestly think I spent a good year looking at that book, ignoring everything around me, whenever we visited them. Recently it suddenly occurred to that Henry would love this too, but I was sure it would be long out of print. Not only is it still in print, but it’s been reissued. Hurrah!

I can’t even describe how completely magical this book is. It’s a coffee table book, and has a lot of pages, so not one to read in one sitting, or even to read all the way through at all. The way it’s written is like it’s a lushly illustrated research manual, ostensibly by some gnome hounds who studied the gnomes of the world and are presenting here all the information they have gathered. The full-color paintings are divine, and the level of detail is incredible. It really does make you believe that gnomes must be out there, and of course they don’t wear red caps until they get married, and live to be 500, and keep mice as pets. There are also gnome stories, and a Song of the Troll*. There’s also a topless female gnome, so be warned if that sort of thing might bug you (my own kids have seen me without clothes so many times I don’t think they even noticed the topless gnome).

*Eli has a cold, which is why he sounds like a craggy troll.

Comments (5)

  1. Clog February 8, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Hope this was recorded earlier and E doesn’t have a cold for his Bday.
    I love that they know all the words…I know I would have trouble memorizing the song!

  2. Julie February 8, 2010 at 9:27 am

    It was recorded Friday, but he still has the cold. If he would just SLEEP at night I think he would get better. We moved them up into the attic last night and he was awful. Dave and I are ready to die. I don’t know what his deal is.

  3. Clog February 8, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Maybe you should all move up there….one big happy bedroom!

  4. Corinne February 8, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Aaaa! I so remember this book! It was so enthralling. You are right, the way it is done does make you think there are gnomes. You just need the proper secret magical map on how to get there- i really wanted to go there. it matched my interest as a child to read encyclopedias and geograpy books [i used to love maps].
    sigh, i’m going back in time to laying belly down on the carpet reading “gnomes” and “national geographic”
    thanks Julie.

  5. sarah February 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I still remember when my mom brought this home from the library. I was in my Tasha Tudor corgie stage. I loved, loved this book! Thanks for resurrecting it!

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